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Clement Parsons in 1890

My mother’s English family lived and worked in India for five generations. My great-grandfather, Clement George Parsons (1861-1912), who worked in the area of civil administration, wrote a long, satirical ballad which detailed contempt for the way the British operated in India. He sent the ballad to Rudyard Kipling, evidently looking for assistance in publishing it. As far as we know, that letter Parsons wrote to Kipling has not survived, but we do have the letter that Kipling sent back to him in reply.


Kipling’s letter displays a strong warning to Parsons not to seek publication if he valued his professional career in British India. Parsons took Kipling’s advice and only published the ballad privately for his family.


At the time he wrote the ballad, Parsons was Assistant Commissioner to the Commissioner of the Punjab. He went on to become Commissioner of Lahore by 1912.

Kipling's letter to Parsons

Parsons' Ballad

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